Bookmark and Share

Unions say an urgent ‘reality check’ needed to solve youth unemployment

13 June 2014 By ACTU

Access, opportunity and investment are the real issues behind youth unemployment, not apathy, said the ACTU.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver called on the Abbott Government to remove their blinkers and genuinely consider the issues around unemployment as rates for under-25s reach three times the level for those over.

"Current rhetoric and decision-making from the Abbott Government assumes we have a generation of young people lacking aspiration and ambition who are happy to live on welfare," Mr Oliver said.

"You have to ask what universe the Government is living on when the only solution to unemployment we've heard is to let employers pay workers less and take away safety nets when workers lose their job."

Mr Oliver called for policies that improve people's lives and create an environment where job creation flourishes.

"Access, opportunity and investment are the real issues behind unemployment, not apathy, and that's particularly the case for young people transitioning into their first job or finding their feet in the workplace," Mr Oliver said.

"The Government needs to stop blaming others, particularly young job seekers, and start creating an environment where people can access job-specific training, where university degrees are supported by robust industry and Australia continues to encourage and invest in industry and innovation."

"That's not happening. Instead an estimated tens of thousands of graduates can't find work, we have seen the demise of a number of industries including car manufacturing, jobs are being outsources and workers imported.

"We have a generation of young people – who like all previous generations – dream of careers and their future working lives. However what they are finding more and more in Australia is that the door of opportunity is being shut instead of opened."

The Government needs to create opportunities for young people and can do this by mandating local content rules in construction and mining as well as procurement policies that include employing apprentices, particularly out in the regions.

Tony Abbott wants to be called an infrastructure PM, well he needs to use this investment in infrastructure spending to create jobs and turn around youth unemployment

Mr Oliver also said unemployment needed to be tackled across all ages groups.

"Youth unemployment has risen by the amount that you would expect given the rise in overall unemployment. When overall unemployment rises, youth unemployment tends to rise faster; similarly, when overall unemployment falls, the situation for young people tends to improve rapidly," Mr Oliver said.

"The relationship between the youth unemployment rate and the rate for people age 25 plus has not changed in recent times. Tackle issues around unemployment such as lack of opportunity and investment and you'll also assist the next generation to become active members of future workplaces.

"Current Abbott Government policies will ultimately have the reverse affect and shut young people out of employment just when they hope to establish themselves."

Media contact: Carla De Campo, 0410 579 575 and Eleni Hale 0418 793 885

Contact Details
Name: David Smith, ASU National Secretary
Telephone: 03 9342 1400